Letter: AIU XII.83

Letter AIU XII.83



Letter in Arabic from Ṣāʿid, probably a Jewish merchant, in ʿAydhāb, to his mother and brother in Fusṭāṭ. He reports that his party left Qūṣ and celebrated Passover in the wilderness of ʿAydhāb. When they arrived in ʿAydhāb, Abū l-Ḥusayn the camel-driver (? spelled without the alif) had already departed, so they were unable to send a letter with him as planned. Ṣāʿid asks his mother to tell the teacher Abū Saʿd that the nakhuda (spelled nākhudhiya), probably the same Abū Naṣr named on verso, disagrees with his proposition (?). The writer then sends greetings to several people in Fusṭāṭ including his brother Abū l-Khayr and asks his mother to pray for him always. He then asks her to tell his brother to go to Abū l-Khayr b. Khalfa and tell him that Abū l-Surūr is with them and about to set sail with the nakhuda, and no one needs to worry on his account. He then writes (it seems) that he and his party will also be setting sail soon, presumably to Yemen or India, and may God preserve them. He then turns to addressing his brother, Abū l-Faḍl, exhorting him to look after their mother, perhaps "not to let her know" that he is setting sail, and "not to drink [...]." He concludes with asking his family to send letters to him and to the nakhuda, and gives the date: Friday the 5th of Muharram, 547 Hijri = April 1152 CE (if this is indeed the correct reading of the date). He concludes again with regards to al-Muʿallim al-Malījī and Abū Naṣr and the family of Dāwud. The first two words of the address are difficult to decipher: to madīnat al-[...]? or to sayyidat al-gharb? al-ʿarab? In any case, the letter is to be delivered to the shop of Abū l-Khayr b. Khalaf al-Ṣayrafī, who is then to give it to his brother Abū l-Faraj. ASE.